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The Frozen World - Patrick Hook

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WITH summer fast approaching, it might seem inappropriate to write about The Frozen World, a book devoted to the coldest and most inhospital places on Earth. On the other hand, with heatwaves forecast for the coming months, it might just prove the perfect antidote.

Patrick Hook’s visually stunning book takes an in depth look at the Arctic and Subarctic, Antarctic and Subantarctic, and non-polar alpine regions of the world – how they were formed, their ecology, the flora and fauna and the impact made by man.

The final category inevitably includes global warming though far from taking the most commonly held view as to its cause (i.e. man) Hook explores every possibility, even daring to suggest that in some instances, political agendas are at the heart of the arguments. All of which makes it refreshingly unbiased.

However, global warming aside, the wild areas around the poles are rich in natural resources – aluminum, gas, coal, zinc, silver and, of course, oil – all subject to human exploitation, as was so sadly demonstrated in Alaska.

But The Frozen World isn’t all doom and gloom – far from it. The images – and they include more than 30 double-page panoramas (and we’re talking big pages) – all courtesy of Corbis and Getty Images, show just how beautiful these regions are.

Whether it’s icebergs or glaciers, polar bears or penguins, the midnight sun or the aurora borealis, you’ll certainly be impressed. But more importantly, if they alert us to the importance of nurturing and protecting these regions that are not only beautiful but are among the last remaining wild places on Earth, then so much the better.

Without a doubt, The Frozen World is a beautiful book; one that clearly does justice to its subject – no easy task all things taken into consideration. It also offers a great deal of food for thought which, in today’s uncertain world, is no bad thing. Combined, they make The Frozen World a book to cherish.